25 pictures of Guru Nanak celebrations in India and Pakistan: Sikh founder honoured

The 550th anniversary of the Sikh guru's birth meant processions and a lot of community spirit

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With millions celebrating it in unison across the globe, one of the biggest birthday celebrations every year is the birth anniversary of Guru Nanek Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism.

The celebration is called Guru Nanak Dev Ji Jayanti or Guru Nanak Gurpurab, and this Tuesday, November 12, marked the 550th anniversary of the guru's birth, leading to three days of global celebrations.

Scroll through the gallery above to see the beautiful processions, rituals and gatherings held in both India and Pakistan to honour the occasion.

Globally, the celebrations generally begin with processions from Gurudrwaras the day before the birthday, while hymns are sung early in the morning of the anniversary. Then there is, as is common in Sikh tradition, a free community lunch organised by Gurudwara volunteers. The food is offered to anyone, of any religion, in the spirit of service and devotion.

Every year, thousands of Sikhs from across the world make a pilgrimage to holy sites in both India and Pakistan. The birth place of the guru is in about 80 km from the Pakistani city of Lahore.

While the site where the guru died in 1539 is also in Pakistan, and this year, a new visa-free passage for Indian Sikhs was opened up. The secure Kartarpur Corridor allows Indian Sikhs to visit the site, which had been difficult in recent years.

Meanwhile, the world's holiest Gurdwara (place of Sikh workshop) is the Golden Temple in Amritsar in the north-west of India.

Guru Nanak lived from 1469 to 1539, his teachings can be found in the Sikh scripture Guru Granth Sahib. He taught that followers should share with others, help those in need, earn a living honestly and meditate on God's name to control the weaknesses of the human condition.